Avid X0 Trail Brakes

The continuing evolution of all-purpose parts

By Joe Parkin

Other big news offered up recently at SRAM's Trail House in Santa Cruz, California, was the announcement of Avid's redesigned logo—and its new X0 Trail brake.

Given today's longer-travel, efficient-pedaling, lightweight trail and all-mountain machines, Avid says the X0 Trail was designed meet the needs of all-around mountain bikers—riders who want the weight of XC brakes and yet the power of downhill binders.

Ah yes, the mythical do-all product. "Tastes great. Less filling."

Is it possible to make everybody happy? My first rides on X0 Trail-equipped bikes seem to suggest that Avid has come damn close.

At 340 grams, the four-piston X0 Trail is just a few grams fatter than the two-piston X0, but the extra pistons and increased surface area on the brake pads give the Trail a healthy appetite for stopping. If a handful of grams causes you angst, consider the fact that the new brake's extra power will allow you to run smaller-diameter rotors, and lose a handful of rotating grams—another bonus for the wagon-wheel set. And speaking of 29ers, Avid is introducing a 170-millimeter rotor to decrease the front-to-rear power gap.

High-speed NorCal trails, my extra-large carcass and hydration pack, which contained about every tool imaginable—save for a chop saw and welder—provided an honest condition for testing.

True to its claim, the X0 Trail's stopping power is there when you need it. But stopping power without real control is nigh worthless if you're relying on your brakes to help you go fast. I am happy with the new Avid's modulation: Threshold braking, trail braking and rotating the rear end were on-demand affairs. Avid calls it Deep Stroke Modulation, which, you have to admit, sounds cool—and perhaps slightly dirty—but their marketing words hit the nail on the head, because these brakes are consistently easy to control.

Riders who like to put a lot of extra heat into their brake system—by dragging them—will likely experience some rear fade. I felt this a bit, but it took some trying to get there. But even with a bit of brake fade, I still experienced good control.

Avid X0 Trail: $310 (vs $261 for X0)
340 grams (vs 315 grams for X0)
Black Ano or Polished Silver
Sealed Pivot Bearings
4-Piston Dual-Diameter Caliper
Tool-Free Contact Adjust
Tool-Free Reach Adjust
Tooled Banjo Adjust
MatchMaker X Compatible

Available July, 2012